Blog

  Are you one of them? Advertise a vacancy today   The September – December 2016 InterTradeIreland Business Monitor Report, issued on Monday, shows that 37 percent of construction companies surveyed reported difficulties recruiting skilled labour, with 33 per cent citing a lack of appropriate skills in their current workforce. “We are seeing a resilient, sustained recovery and notable symmetry in challenges faced by firms both North and South,” InterTradeIreland Strategy and Policy Director Aidan Gough said. “The number of companies across the island reporting stability or growth in the last quarter has remained fairly constant at 84 per cent; however exporters continue to fare better than non-exporters with 51 per experiencing growth compared to 36 per cent. “The construction sector was hit harder than others during the downturn but is reporting robust signs of resurgence with 82 per cent reporting they are stable or in growth. Over 75 per cent of businesses in the sector say they are profitable or very profitable. However an emerging skills shortage in the construction sector is obviously an obstacle to continued growth. This may lead to building firms beginning to feel the pinch in terms of the acquisition of new contracts and servicing the needs of fuller order books.” Further signs of buoyancy are evident in the employment figures reported in the survey, which shows a large increase in the number of firms in the Ireland reporting an increase in employment levels (14 per cent) – the highest number of firms reporting an increase in recent years, with larger firms experiencing a higher rate of growth at 54 per cent. “The Business Monitor results also reveal that companies across the island are experiencing similar challenges,” Gough said, “although many are signs of a healthy economy and include increased competition, discounting by competitors and difficulties in finding skilled labour as companies grow. However the greatest challenge facing businesses is rising costs, particularly energy costs. “With almost a third of firms reporting that they are running at break-even and 78% already running close to or at capacity, there is a vulnerable tier of the economy that could be exposed to inflationary pressures. Nevertheless, the overall message is that of a robust economy, with companies going into potentially challenging times from a position of relative strength”. Other insights revealed by the InterTradeIreland Business Monitor include: 98 per cent have no plan in place to deal with the consequences of Brexit 51 per cent of businesses in cross-border sales concerned about currency/exchange rate More than a quarter of growing businesses (28 per cent) have indicated they are experiencing difficulties recruiting appropriate skills for their businesses. 45 per cent of all businesses surveyed noted rising energy costs as a current issue for their business. 49 per cent of businesses surveyed noted rising overheads (apart from energy) as a current concern. Source:  http://www.constructionbusiness.ie/2017/02/more-than-one-third-of-construction-companies-report-recruitment-difficulties/  
There are many construction workers from Ireland, who, in recent years, have felt compelled to seek work in London. This is no surprise of course; before 2014, the Irish construction industry (and the wider economy) had experienced seven years of decline - a decline that was simply unprecedented. However, the Irish economy is on the up and rising fortunes within the construction industry in Ireland means that the need to travel to London for work should no longer be seen as the only option. Construction in Ireland has most certainly improved and, at long last, rates of pay are starting to increase. Intangible Costs Of course, those that currently fly back home weekly or monthly from London may have flights and accommodation paid for by the company they work for. So, while they are not financially out of pocket, they do potentially lose out on so much more. The real downside is being separated from family every week. Only seeing family and kids at the weekend means people in this position are effectively missing out on seeing their children growing up. That is something that you cannot put a price on. Being away from partners for a week or weeks at a time may also put a strain on relationships. Advertise a Construction Vacancy   So, there is the intangible cost (being away from family) to factor in. Furthermore, there is the tangible cost to consider too. In the latest figures produced by Expatistan, who study the cost of living index in cities across the globe, Dublin was reported as being 24% cheaper to live in than London. Direct Costs Dublin is comparable to London for the price of clothing and just 2% cheaper for food. However, there are there some marked differences overall. Dublin is 17% cheaper than London regarding entertainment and 18% lower for personal care. The most significant differences, however, are for transportation - which is 29% cheaper in Dublin. The biggest difference overall is for housing. Dublin Housing is a massive 39% cheaper than in London. In fact, by whatever renowned measure you choose to look at, Dublin comes out on top. The Mercer Quality of Living Survey is an annual comparison of cities using a large set of criteria (39 separate factors) including education, healthcare, hygiene, environment, safety, recreation, public transport and political-economic stability. Dublin is significantly ahead of London in this survey. Dublin has many advantages: much cheaper fuel and housing alongside other important considerations such as lower population density, more hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants and lower inequalities in income overall. The Irish government haven’t been standing still either.  Two pieces of legislation have improved the construction industry in Ireland. The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 will tighten up control with increased monitoring and safety on building works to hopefully ensure that developments like Priory Hall never happen again. The Construction Contracts Act 2013, enacted in July 2013, will - in time - help to secure the industry and ensure continued stability and growth. It requires all contracts to include full mechanisms for payment. Buoyed by these two important legislative gains, stability in the market will further increase for 2016 and beyond. Conclusion It looks like the time is right for those construction workers currently engaged in the treadmill of working in London during the week and flying home to reconsider their options. Rates of pay, 'money in the back pocket', so to speak is obviously important - but taking a wider view and considering the cost of living and quality of life is even more important.  
The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index shows activity rose to 63.6 for the first sector of this  year from 58.6 in December on the back of new business. Total activity in the construction sector has increased in each of the past 29 months, according to the index. All three sub-categories monitored by the index – housing, commercial and civil engineering – recorded a rise in activity. The sharpest increase was in housing activity which recorded the strongest growth since October 2014, rising from 28.3 to 65.8. Commercial activity jumped from 59.7 to 62.4 while civil engineering activity rose from 52 to 54.7. The index reported a sharp rise in new business while the rate of job creation quickened for the third month running. Business sentiment was little-changed at the start of the year, remaining strongly positive. Rising new work was the main driver of optimism regarding activity for the year ahead, with three-fifths of respondents predicting growth. Construction firms increased their purchasing activity at a stronger pace in January due to a rise in new orders. Input buying has expanded in each month since March 2014, the index